Fifth Avenue Line (Brooklyn elevated)

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Fifth Avenue elevated
NYCS IRT EasternPkwy AtlanticAve.jpg
The Atlantic Avenue station of the Fifth Avenue line.
Other name(s)BMT Fifth Avenue Line
TypeRapid transit
SystemBrooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation
TerminiFulton Street
65th Street
OwnerCity of New York
Operator(s)Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation
Number of tracks2
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map

Park Row
Sands Street
Adams Street
Bridge – Jay Streets
to Lexington Avenue Line (until 1904)[1]
Fulton Street
Atlantic Avenue
St. Marks Avenue
Union Street
Third Street
Ninth Street
16th Street
20th Street
25th Street
36th Street
40th Street
46th Street
52nd Street
58th Street
65th Street

The Fifth Avenue Line, also called the Fifth Avenue elevated or Fifth Avenue–Bay Ridge line, was an elevated rail line in Brooklyn, New York City, United States. It ran above Hudson Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, Fifth Avenue, 38th Street, and Third Avenue from Downtown Brooklyn south to Bay Ridge. The portion on Third Avenue was called the Third Avenue elevated to distinguish service from the West End elevated; it was separate from the Third Avenue elevated in Manhattan and the Bronx.


The Union Elevated Railroad Company,[2] leased by the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad, built the Hudson Avenue elevated, a branch of the Brooklyn elevated's Lexington Avenue Elevated. This line split from the Brooklyn elevated at a junction at Hudson and Park Avenues (where exit 29 of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway is now located), and traveled south above Hudson Avenue to the Long Island Rail Road's Flatbush Avenue terminal. Trains began operating between Fulton Ferry (the terminal of the Brooklyn elevated) and Flatbush Avenue on November 5, 1888.[3]

The line crossed the Myrtle Avenue elevated at grade two blocks south of its merge with the Brooklyn elevated. On its second day of operation, November 6, a Hudson Avenue train crashed into a Myrtle Avenue train.[4] Service was suspended immediately,[5] and did not resume until June 22, 1889, when an extension south to Third Street was completed, and a new connection into Myrtle Avenue opened, taking trains between Third Street and Sands Street at the end of the Myrtle Avenue elevated, and replacing the four track crossings with one.[6] The unused two blocks north of Myrtle Avenue were placed back in service on December 9, 1889, when Myrtle Avenue trains began to use it to reach Fulton Ferry via the old Brooklyn elevated.[7]

An extension south to 25th Street at Greenwood Cemetery was opened at 4 p.m. on August 15, 1889. At this new terminal, elevated passengers could transfer to the north end of the Brooklyn, Bath and West End Railroad for Coney Island.[8][9] A further extension to 36th Street, at a new Union Depot serving the West End Line and Prospect Park and Coney Island Railroad (Culver Line) to Coney Island, opened on May 29, 1890.[10]

The Seaside and Brooklyn Bridge Elevated Railroad was organized on March 18, 1890[11] to extend the Fifth Avenue elevated south to Fort Hamilton, to extend the Lexington Avenue elevated from Van Siclen Avenue east to the city line,[12] and to build in High Street at the Brooklyn Bridge (this became part of the Sands Street station loop).[13] The extension of the Fifth Avenue elevated, along Fifth Avenue, 38th Street, and Third Avenue, opened to 65th Street on October 1, 1893.[14][15]

On June 25, 1923 two cars of a northbound train derailed and fell towards Flatbush Avenue. Eight passengers died and many were injured.[16][17] At midnight on June 1, 1940, service on the Fifth Avenue elevated ended as required by the unification of the city's three subway companies.[18][19]

On September 15, 1941, the demolition of the Fifth Avenue elevated started at 35th Street and Fifth Avenue, and it was completed by November of that year.[20] The section of the elevated on Third Avenue from 38th Street to 65th Street was used as part of the elevated highway approach, the Gowanus Expressway, to the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel. In total, three miles of the elevated was scrapped, with the work being done by the Harris Structural Steel Company.[2]

Station listing[edit]

Fifth Avenue trains served Park Row, Sands Street, Adams Street, and Bridge–Jay Streets before leaving the Myrtle Avenue Line.

Name Opened Closed Notes
Fulton Street July 27, 1889[8][9] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Fulton Street elevated trains and Fulton Street Line, DeKalb Avenue Line, and Flatbush Avenue Line streetcars
Atlantic Avenue November 5, 1888[3] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Long Island Rail Road Atlantic Division trains at Flatbush Avenue and St. Johns Place Line, Flatbush Avenue Line, Third Avenue Line, and Seventh Avenue Line streetcars
St. Marks Avenue June 22, 1889[6] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Bergen Street Line streetcars
Union Street June 22, 1889[6] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Union Street Line streetcars
Third Street June 22, 1889[6] June 1, 1940[18][19]
Ninth Street August 15, 1889[8] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Smith and Ninth Streets Line and Hamilton Avenue Line streetcars
16th Street August 15, 1889[8] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to 15th Street Line streetcars
20th Street August 15, 1889[8] June 1, 1940[18][19]
25th Street August 15, 1889[8] June 1, 1940[18][19]
36th Street May 29, 1890[10] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to West End Line trains
40th Street October 1, 1893[14] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Church Avenue Line, 39th Street and Coney Island Line, 39th Street and Manhattan Beach Line, and 39th Street and Ulmer Park Line streetcars
46th Street October 1, 1893[14] June 1, 1940[18][19]
52nd Street October 1, 1893[14] June 1, 1940[18][19]
58th Street October 1, 1893[14] June 1, 1940[18][19]
65th Street October 1, 1893[14] June 1, 1940[18][19] connection to Sea Beach Line, Bay Ridge Suburban Line, Bay Ridge Line, Third Avenue Line, and 86th Street Suburban Line streetcars


  1. ^ Park Ave El (1885-1891), including Hudson Avenue Extension (The
  2. ^ a b "Razing Will Begin On Brooklyn 'El'; Demolition of Fifth Avenue Line Will Start Monday -- Surface Cars Rerouted". The New York Times. September 9, 1941. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Will Open on Monday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 1, 1888. p. 5.
  4. ^ "Who's to Blame". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 7, 1888. p. 6.
  5. ^ "Stops Running". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 9, 1888. p. 4.
  6. ^ a b c d "One Train Ran". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 22, 1889. p. 6.
  7. ^ "Running Smoothly". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 9, 1889. p. 6.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "To Greenwood on Thursday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 14, 1889. p. 1.
  9. ^ a b "The Fifth Avenue Elevated to Greenwood". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 15, 1889. p. 6.
  10. ^ a b "Half a Mile More of L Road". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 29, 1890. p. 6.
  11. ^ "Seaside Road". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 18, 1890. p. 6.
  12. ^ "Miles of L Road in Brooklyn". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 31, 1890. p. 1.
  13. ^ "Wingate Scores Peabody". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 7, 1894. p. 19.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Trial Trip on the Sea Side". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 30, 1893. p. 10.
  15. ^ "Through Trains To-day". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. October 1, 1893. p. 1.
  16. ^ Under the Sidewalks of New York The Story of the Greatest Subway System By Brian J. Cudahy
  17. ^ "The Forgotten Brooklyn Elevated Train Crash Of 1923". Stuff Nobody Cares About. Forgotten New York. June 25, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "B.M.T. 'El' Lines to Shift Service; City to Close 2 Sections This Week; New Schedules Affect Fulton St., Lexington Ave. and Culver Roads--Free Transfers to the Independent System at Some Stations". The New York Times. May 27, 1940. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Last Train Is Run On Fulton St. 'El'; Mayor, Cashmore, Officials and Civic Leaders Make Trip to Brooklyn Terminus Razing To Start Soon 'Funeral' Services for Line, Built in 1888, Are Held in Kings During Afternoon". The New York Times. June 1, 1940. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  20. ^ "Razing of Elevated Started". The New York Times. September 16, 1941. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 2, 2016.